His grandiose style gave the keynote for the artistic treatment of the portrait of Jesus in the sixties
|November 16, 2011||Posted by webmaster under All text of Schweitzer Quest Jesus, chapter fourteen||
The position of the prospective martyr was not rendered any more easy by Strauss. In an appendix to his criticism of Schleiermacher’s Life of Jesus he settled accounts with his old antagonist. He recognises no scientific value whatever in the work. None of the ideas developed in it are new. One might fairly say, he thinks, “that the conclusions which have given offence had been carried down the Neckar from Tübingen to Heidelberg, and had there been salvaged by Herr Schenkel—in a somewhat sodden and deteriorated condition, it must be admitted—and incorporated into the edifice which he was constructing.” Further Strauss censures the book for its want of frankness, its half-and-half character, which manifests itself especially in the way in which the author clings to orthodox phraseology. “Over and over again he gives criticism with one hand all that it can possibly ask, and then takes back with the other whatever the interests of faith seem to demand; with the constant result that what is taken back is far too much for criticism and not nearly enough for faith.” “In the future,” he concludes, “it will be said of the seven hundred Durlachers that they fought like paladins to prevent the enemy from capturing a standard which was really nothing but a patched dish-clout.”
Schenkel died in 1885 after severe sufferings. As a critic he lacked independence, and was, therefore, always inclined to compromises; in controversy he was vehement. Though he did nothing remarkable in theology, German Protestantism owes him a vast debt for acting as its tribune in the sixties.
That was the last time that any popular excitement was aroused in connexion with the critical study of the life of Jesus; and it was a mere storm in a tea-cup. Moreover, it was the man and not his work that aroused the excitement. Henceforth public opinion was almost entirely indifferent to anything which appeared in this department. The great fundamental question whether historical criticism was to be applied to the life of Jesus had been decided in connexion with Strauss’s first work on the subject. If here and there indignation aroused by a Life of Jesus brought inconveniences to the author and profit to the publisher, that was connected in every case with purely external and incidental circumstances. Public opinion was not disquieted for a moment by Volkmar and Wrede, although they are much more extreme than Schenkel.
Most of the Lives of Jesus which followed had, it is true, nothing very exciting about them. They were mere variants of the type established during the sixties, variants of which the minute differences were only discernible by theologians, and which were otherwise exactly alike in arrangement and result. As a contribution to criticism, Keim’s “History of Jesus of Nazara” was the most important Life of Jesus which appeared in a long period.
It is not of much consequence that he believes in the priority of Matthew, since his presentment of the history follows the general lines of the Marcan plan, which is preserved also in Matthew. He gives it as his opinion that the life of Jesus is to be reconstructed from the Synoptics, whether Matthew has the first place or Mark. He sketches the development of Jesus in bold lines. As early as his inaugural address at Zurich, delivered on the 17th of December 1860, which, short as it was, made a powerful impression upon Holtzmann as well as upon others, he had set up the thesis that the Synoptics “artlessly, almost against their will, show us unconsciously in incidental, unobtrusive traits the progressive development of Jesus as youth and man.” His later works are the development of this sketch.
His grandiose style gave the keynote for the artistic treatment of the portrait of Jesus in the sixties. His phrases and expressions became classical. Every one follows him in speaking of the “Galilaean springtide” in the ministry of Jesus.
 Der Schenkel‘sche Handel in Baden. (The Schenkel Controversy in Baden.) (A corrected reprint from number 441 of the National-Zeitung of September 21, 1864.) An appendix to Der Christus des Galubens und der Jesus der Geschichte. 1865.
 Theodor Keim, Die Geschichte Jesu van Nazara, in ihrer Verhaltuna, mit dem Gesamtleben seines Volkes frei untersucht und ausführlich erzühlt. (The History of Jesus of Nazara in Relation to the General Life of His People, freely examined and fully narrated.) 3 vols. Zurich, 1867- 1872. Vol. i. The Day of Preparation; Vol. ii. The Year of Teaching in 374 Galilee; Vol. iii. The Death-Passover (Todesostern) in Jerusalem. A short account in a more popular form appeared in 1872, Geschichte Jesu nach den Ergebnissen heutiger Wissenschaft für weitere Kreise übersichtlich erzählt. (The History of Jesus according to the Results of Present-day Criticism, briefly narrated for the General Reader.) 2nd ed., 1875.
Karl Theodor Keim was born in 1825 at Stuttgart, was Repetent at Tübingen from 1851 to 1855, and after he had been five years in the ministry, became Professor at Zurich in 1860. In 1873 he accepted a call to Giessen, where he died in 1878.
 Die menschliche Entwicklung Jesu Christi. See Holtzmann, Die synoptischen Evangelien, 1863 pp. 7-9. This dissertation was followed by Der geschichtliche Christus. 3rd ed., 1866.
Albert Schweitzer's The Quest of the Historical Jesus
|Also in print from Barnes and Noble
As an E-book at: